Reading between the lines: A qualitative case study of national public health institute functions and attributes in the Joint External Evaluation
National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) are national-level institutions that can lead and coordinate a country’s public health system. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) considers NPHI development critical to strengthening public health systems in Africa. This paper describes how Joint External Evaluation (JEE) reports demonstrate the role NPHIs can play in supporting the goals of IHR compliance and global health security. This study is a secondary document-based qualitative analysis of JEE reports from 11 countries in the WHO AFRO region (Botswana, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia). Researchers found three distinct thematic areas: i) core public health functions, ii) governance, and iii) coordination, collaboration, and communication. These themes and their interlinkages, both in pairs and all three, were of importance in displaying the roles that NPHIs could play in the strengthening of health systems. The data suggests that NPHIs, though not always explicitly mentioned in the data, may have a vital role in strengthening health systems across Africa and their governments’ goals of achieving IHR compliance.
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